The V12 Vantage could be thought of as Aston Martin's take on the classic Detroit muscle car formula. The car was created when Aston Martin stuffed its largest, most powerful V12 motor into the engine compartment of its smallest sports car, the V8 Vantage. The result is a straight-line monster but also, unlike many muscle cars of yore, a nimble machine in the corners.
The V12 Vantage has a 5.9-liter V12 that cranks out 510 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque and helps the car sprint from zero to 62 mph in 4.2 seconds. The engine features a Â‘by-pass' engine air intake port that opens up at 5500 rpm, a revised induction system and re-profiled air inlet ports that further improve airflow into the combustion chamber to improve performance.
Although the V12 engine weighs 220 pounds more than the standard car's engine, the vehicle's overall weight only increases 110 pounds. This is possible due to widespread use of lightweight materials, including carbon ceramic brakes, forged aluminum wheels, lightweight rear quarter panels, and optional lightweight seats. Weight distribution is a near-perfect 51:49.
The V12 Vantage's Carbon Ceramic Matrix discs are 398 mm in diameter at the front and 360 mm at the rear while the brake calipers feature six pistons at the front, four at the rear and have a larger brake pad area compared to the V8 Vantage. Air ducts positioned within the lower front grille feed air directly onto the discs to aid cooling.
Exclusively available with a six-speed manual transmission, the car's gearbox uses a transaxle configuration to aid weight distribution. The V12 Vantage's final drive ratio has also been modified from 3.909:1 to 3.71:1. This allows the Vantage to take full benefit of the high torque levels delivered by the engine to provide both flexibility at lower engine speeds as well as a high top speed of 190 mph.
While the external dimensions of the V8 Vantage remain unchanged, the internal frontal structure has been extensively revised forward of the suspension towers to house the larger engine, brake cooling system and twin air intake system.
Unique to the V12 Vantage is the ability to toggle button between two powertrain modes. The default Â‘normal' provides a more progressive, throttle response, suited to more everyday situations. Selecting Â‘Sport' mode delivers a sharper throttle response together with a sportier exhaust note. In default operation, the Dynamic Stability Control is automatically switched on. Depressing the DSC button for two seconds selects Â‘track mode' which raises the manner and threshold at which the system intervenes allowing the driver to explore the limits of the car's considerable handling capabilities. Depressing the button for four seconds will switch off DSC completely.
The V12 Vantage proved itself in 2009 by taking home a class victory at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring, where it was driven by a group comprised of the company's engineers - including its CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez.
Major options on the V12 Vantage are limited to 700-watt stereo with Dolby Surround Sound; the car has the wide range of standard, coddling luxury features one would expect at the price point.
Aston Martin offers a special Carbon Black edition of the V12 Vantage for customers desiring for their car to have a unique aesthetic treatment. Featuring bespoke Carbon Black metallic paint especially formulated with a subtle metallic twist to create a deep rich patina., each car will undergo 50 man-hours of hand painting followed by stringent quality checks.
The side strake has been fashioned from real carbon fiber backed by a black mesh and complimented with gloss black 10 spoke diamond turned alloy wheels. A bright finished grille and front parking sensors (normally an option) complete the exterior detailing.
Inside, owners will be greeted by swathes of Obsidian Black leather highlighted with a contrast silver coarse stitch all hand stitched by the craftspeople at Gaydon - Aston Martin's global headquarters in England.
Supercar rivals to the V12 Vantage are numerous and all offer their own distinctive traits. The Audi R8 V10 combines a brutish motor with a user-friendly chassis, the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG serves up a combination of power, elegance and luxury, the Porsche 911 Turbo S uses Teutonic engineering prowess to provide blistering acceleration while the Ferrari 458 Italia brings Formula 1 technology and performance to the road.